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Digital Seminar

The Shame Spiral: Release Shame and Cultivate Healthy Attachment in Clients with Anxiety, Trauma, Depression and Relational Difficulties

Debra Premashakti Alvis, PhD
6 Hours 13 Minutes
May 20, 2020
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Digital Seminar
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“Who could ever love you?”

“I knew you’d fail.”

Debilitating and complex, shame is among the most destructive of human emotions. Depression, violence, anxiety – it emerges in a variety of ways that are profoundly damaging to your clients’ lives and the lives of those around them.

Working with clients experiencing unhealthy shame presents you with a formidable therapeutic challenge. How do you effectively manage something that hides in the shadows…that by its very nature is so excruciating that it pushes people toward avoidance? How do you heal something that lurks behind masks of anger and defensiveness? How do you break through to suffering individuals who’ve spent a lifetime viewing themselves as wrong, unlovable, and unworthy of getting better?

Stop letting shame derail the therapeutic process and transform how you work with shame-driven clients.

Watch this recording and help your clients end avoidance, face their shame, and rewrite their story of dysfunctional self-worth and condemnation into one of compassionate acceptance.

Key benefits of watching:

  • Teach clients to manage shame without resorting to destructive measures.
  • Reduce judgmental thoughts and reactivity with mindfulness.
  • Cultivate secure self-attachment with somatic approaches.
  • Discover how shame complicates trauma treatment and how addressing shame can help you expedite recovery.
  • Build resiliency to shame with interventions based on empathy, forgiveness, and compassion.


Continuing Professional Development Certificates
- PESI Australia, in collaboration with PESI in the USA, offers quality online continuing professional development events from the leaders in the field at a standard recognized by professional associations including psychology, social work, occupational therapy, alcohol and drug professionals, counselling and psychotherapy. On completion of the training, a Professional Development Certificate is issued after the individual has answered and submitted a quiz and course evaluation. This online program is worth 6.0 hours CPD for points calculation by your association.



Debra Premashakti Alvis, PhD's Profile

Debra Premashakti Alvis, PhD Related seminars and products

Debra Premashakti Alvis, PhD, a licensed psychologist, developed the Mind/Body Program at the University of Georgia, providing clinician training on the integration of mindfulness and contemplative practices into psychotherapy. Her work as a professor at the University of Georgia included the supervision of doctoral students and co-leading a research team investigating mindfulness.

In addition to teaching, Dr. Alvis maintains a private practice and has more than 25 years of clinical experience in treating clients with a variety of conditions by mindfulness principles, body-oriented principles and traditional psychotherapeutic approaches. She also has an over 30-year personal contemplative practice.


Speaker Disclosures:
Financial: Debra Alvis maintains a private practice and receives a speaking honorarium from Asadis Training, Essential Therapy Training, Georgia Museum of Art, Bascom Museum of Art, and Mountain Area Health Education Center. She receives a speaking honorarium and recording royalties from PESI, Inc. She has no relevant financial relationships with ineligible organizations.
Non-financial: Debra Alvis is a member of the American Association of College Student Personnel, the Association for Contemplative Mind in Higher Education, the Association of Specialists in Group Work, the Athens Area Psychological Association, and the Georgia Psychological Association.


  1. Enhance client attunement with clinical strategies that replicate conditions for healthy attachment.
  2. Characterize how shame complicates the treatment of trauma and specify how shame can be worked within traumatized clients.
  3. Evaluate how shame can be addressed in your treatment plans with self-forgiveness interventions that can help facilitate recovery.
  4. Communicate how anxiety generated by feelings of shame can be managed with breathing techniques that can be taught in-session.
  5. Establish how depressed clients can manage shame generated negative emotions with imagery-based compassion exercises.
  6. Analyze how mindfulness can be incorporated into therapy with shame-prone clients to reduce judgmental thoughts and reactivity.


Recognize Shame: Assessment Tools

  • Shame vs. guilt
  • Multicultural perspectives
  • How addressing shame expedites treatment
  • Reading the body – non-verbal signs of shame
  • Interviewing questions for assessing shame in:
    • Key relationships and current patterns
    • Sexual, physical or verbal abuse, trauma, and neglect

Shame and Attachment Styles: Clinical Strategies to Cultivate Secure Attachment and Self-Compassion

  • Characteristics of shaming environments
  • Concerns of adults shamed in childhood
  • Strategies to replicate conditions for healthy attachment
    • How to enhance presence, attunement, resonance and trust
    • Dignity in the telling – titrating shame exposure
  • Somatic approaches to cultivate secure attachment
    • Developmental movements
    • Horizontal processing
  • Self-compassion exercises
    • Interventions to address interpersonal difficulties
    • Befriend bodily sensations
    • Common humanity visualizations

Address Shame in Your Trauma Treatment Plans: Reclaim the Body from Shame with Breath and Movement

  • How shame complicates trauma recovery
  • Polyvagal theory – shame and the shutdown response
  • Shame and victims of sexual assault – from victim to survivor
  • Exercises to strengthen connections
    • Belongingness treasures
    • Divine child mandala
    • I am meditation – choosing visibility
  • Interventions based in breath and movement
    • Heart mudra and breath – embracing resistance
    • The peaceful warrior

Effectively Intervene in the Downward Spiral of Shame, Anxiety and Depression:

Cognitive approaches that lean into ruminatory shame

  • Put shame into perspective
  • Dispute shame messages

Anxiety interventions for the shame-prone client

  • Breath and movement strategies to stem panic
  • How yoga addresses anxiety symptoms

Breakthrough shame fueled depression with:

  • Techniques to bring shame to light
  • Prosocial behaviour
  • Imagery-based compassion exercises

The Devastating Impact of Shame in Relationships: Build, Maintain and Repair Couple and Family Relationships

  • Unmask shame – anger and other disguises
  • Engage partners in shame reparation
  • Shame resiliency strategies – empathy, forgiveness and compassion
    • Forgiveness in practice – Releasing breath with mantra
    • Identify shame wounds and antidotes
    • Mindful RAIN for shame – regulate emotions and reduce judgmental thoughts

Shame Research, Limitations and Treatment Risks

Target Audience

  • Counselors
  • Social Workers
  • Psychologists
  • Case Managers
  • Marriage & Family Therapists
  • Chaplains/Clergy
  • Other Mental Health Professionals

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